It’s time for the WWF Wrestling Classic What If Tournament, the imaginary event that envisions 32 of the world’s greatest wrestlers competing in a titanic tournament to determine the winner. Unlike the WWF Wrestling Classic from 1985, this one features wrestlers from a variety of promotions including the American Wrestling Association (AWA), various territories from the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), Japan, and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF_. It also ups the stakes by awarding the winner a Rolls Royce (much like one lucky fan who ordered the pay-per-view did) along with a title shot against the NWA, WWF, or AWA World Heavyweight Champion. The tournament also features a main event tag team match with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Nature Boy” Ric Flair teaming up to take on Magnum T.A. and WWF Champion Hulk Hogan. Hogan, who is scheduled to meet Flair at Starrcade ’85, will meet Flair in the ring for the first time.
The matches will be held under traditional WWF rules which means you can win by count-out, disqualification, pinfall, or submission. There is no disqualification for throwing your opponent over the top rope, unlike other promotions. The matches in rounds one and two matches have a 20-minute time limit while rounds three and four have a 30-minute time limit. The fifth and final round will be a one-hour time limit. Just as was the case with the 1985 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup, the tournament will feature randomly selected referees from a pool of referees from every promotion that is sending competitors.
The event will be held over five nights with the first eight matches of round one taking place on Thursday November 7, at the famous Boston Garden. Round One’s first eight matches saw Antonio Inoki, Tito Santana, Larry Zbyszko, Tully Blanchard, Harley Race, Jerry Lawler, The Junkyard Dog and Bob Backlund enter the winner’s circle. They’re now on their way to the second round. The final eight matches are taking place at the fabled Philadelphia Spectrum on Friday, November 8. Your announcers for the show are Gorilla Monsoon and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Gorilla says it’s time to send things to the ring for our next match.
Ricky The Dragon Steamboat vs. Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff
Howard Finkel introduces the wrestlers as referee Dick Kroll conducts the pre-match preliminaries before signaling for the bell. Collar and elbow tie-up as “Mr. Wonderful” uses his strength advantage to get Steamboat into a corner. Orndorff gives a clean break as the two go to lock up again, but Steamboat lands an arm drag take-down. Orndorff charges Steamboat again and gets another arm-drag for his trouble. Orndorff slams the mat. Jesse says “Mr. Wonderful” is known for his temper and Steamboat better watch out. The fans may cheer Orndorff now, but if Steamboat upsets him, they may see the old Mr. Wonderful.
Arm bar by Steamboat as Orndorff reverses it, changing things up to a wristlock. Steamboat counters and hits a snapmare on Orndorff, taking him down to the mat. However, Orndorff grabs a handful of hair and uses it to help get Ricky in a head scissors. Steamboat kicks his way out and delivers a hip toss to Orndorff. Orndorff gets up and goes for a side headlock, but Steamboat escapes by running the ropes. Steamboat leapfrogs over Orndorff and comes off with a high cross bodyblock. Cover on Orndorff but Mr. Wonderful kicks out at two. “The Dragon almost scored an early win!" Gorilla shouts.
Orndorff goes for a test of strength as Steamboat agrees. Jesse says this is a dumb move by Steamboat. Gorilla says leverage can play a big factor in these tests. Orndorff quickly forces Steamboat down to his knees as Orndorff exerts more pressure. However, Steamboat gets to one knee as he’s jockeying for the right leverage. It looks like Steamboat is getting to his feet when Orndorff kicks The Dragon in the gut. Jesse laughs and says “That’s the ‘Mr. Wonderful’ I know!” Orndorff drops a forearm on Steamboat’s back then picks him up. Bodyslam on Steamboat. Orndorff bounces off the ropes and drops a knee across Steamboat’s head. Orndorff drops an elbow onto Steamboat’s head. Orndorff lifts Steamboat up for a powerful German suplex. Cover on Steamboat for a 2-and-a-half count! Steamboat’s in clear trouble now Jesse says. Orndorff obviously wants that Rolls Royce and a world championship match more than Steamboat. Orndorff hits Steamboat with another forearm smash then whips him into the ropes. Running knee by Orndorff that almost takes Steamboat’s head off. Another elbow drop by Orndorff that connects. Lateral press but Steamboat kicks out. Monsoon says you’ll need more than that to pin a competitor the caliber of a Ricky Steamboat.
The fans are cheering for Steamboat, but Mr. Wonderful has his fans too, despite his aggressive tactics. Orndorff whips Steamboat into the corner. Orndorff charges in but Steamboat raises both feet up, striking Paul in the head. Orndorff staggers as Steamboat comes out with a big chop to the chest. Steamboat jumps up and chops Orndorff in the head. Tremendous martial arts prowess on display by one Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Gorilla says. "Looks like Steamboat has blown his top, not Mr. Wonderful,” Jesse muses. Steamboat throws Orndorff into the ropes, catching him with a chop to the chest that knocks him down. Steamboat climbs to the top rope and dives off with a flying chop. Cover on Orndorff for a two-count. Orndorff gets up and punches Steamboat, but Ricky responds with a series of chops, knocking Orndorff into a corner. Steamboat climbs the second rope and unloads with chops to Orndorff’s head. Mr. Wonderful escapes with a reverse atomic drop that stops Steamboat’s offense. Cover by Orndorff but Steamboat gets out. Suplex by Orndorff and a knee drop to Steamboat’s head. Orndorff throws Steamboat into the ropes and goes for a clothesline. Steamboat ducks and comes off the ropes with a Sunset Flip. Orndorff struggles to kick out but Steamboat has enough leverage to get the three-count.
Winner: Ricky The Dragon Steamboat
Orndorff is furious as the referee raises Steamboat’s hand. Jesse says Orndorff looks like he’s going to take Steamboat’s head off. Orndorff offers Steamboat his hand. Steamboat shakes it and Orndorff raises Steamboat’s hand in victory. Tremendous sportsmanship by Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff Gorilla comments. I would have clotheslined him and piledrived him, Jesse tells Gorilla.
Dusty Rhodes vs. Big John Studd (w/ Bobby Heenan)
Dusty enters the ring as the fans go crazy. Some fans remember him from his run in the WWF during the 1970s and the others just hate Big John Studd. Studd enters the ring with Heenan, with Studd stepping over the top rope ala Andre the Giant. Howard Finkel introduces Big John Studd but Studd grabs the microphone and argues, saying “That’s ‘The Giant’ Studd.” Dusty doesn’t waste time with introductions and kicks Studd in the gut while Studd still has his ring robe on. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan makes a quick escape from the ring. Jesse can’t believe this heinous pre-match attack.
Dusty begins peppering Studd with punches then delivers a Bionic Elbow to the head. Studd staggers into the ropes as World Class Championship Wrestling referee Bronco Lubich tells Dusty to back off. Rhodes listens and takes off his ring jacket. Jesse says it’s good to see a referee taking control and not allowing a known cheater like Dusty Rhodes to try and get an unfair advantage. Lubich signals for the bell as Studd clubs Rhodes with a forearm smash, knocking him to one knee. Now you can see why Rhodes tried cheating. Studd slams Dusty to the mat then bounces off the ropes with an elbow, but Rhodes rolls out of the way! Dusty bounces off the ropes and delivers a big elbow to Studd. Dusty follows up by dropping an elbow on Studd’s right leg. Another elbow drop on Studd by Dusty. Dusty twists Studd’s leg as the big man tries to get at him, but Dusty manages to twist Studd’s leg enough that he’s in too much pain to get ahold of Stardust. Gorilla says this is the best strategy for taking out a big man — taking him off his feet. You mean besides cheating? Jesse says. Dusty places Studd’s leg on the bottom rope and stomps on it. Dusty goes to pull Studd into the center of the ring but finds it’s not so easy.
Dusty drops another elbow on Studd’s leg. “The American Dream” can’t pull Studd into the center of the ring so he goes for the figure four leglock. Unfortunately, Studd’s arms are so long he has no problem making it to the ropes, forcing a break. Dusty goes in towards Studd and the big man gets his hands on him, pulling him backwards and through the ropes. Dusty takes a tumble as Studd slowly gets to his feet and tries to walk off the effects of the figure four and the previous assault on his leg. Rhodes get on the mat apron as Studd clubs him with another forearm, knocking Dusty down. Referee Lubich orders Studd to back off and he does. However, as soon as Dusty gets back up, Studd knocks him down again. Bruno warns him but Studd doesn’t seem to be listening.
Dusty makes another try back into the ring and this time Studd goes to suplex him in. However, Studd’s weakened leg can’t bear the weight and Dusty falls on top of him for a two-count. Dusty shakes off the cobwebs and applies the figure four leglock again! Rhodes is cinching the hold in as Studd struggles to reach the ropes. Studd’s manager Bobby Heenan gets onto the mat apron and Lubich goes to order Heenan down. Dusty releases the figure four and goes to confront Heenan. Bobby begins arguing with “Stardust” who pulls him into the ring. Gorilla says The Dream has had enough of “The Weasel’s” interference and it’s payback time. Jesse protests, saying what right does a quarter-ton wrestler have attacking a much-smaller manager? Big John Studd is getting to his feet but still wobbly after the figure four leglock. Bionic elbow to Heenan as the referee grabs Dusty. Dusty backhands the referee who goes down to the mat. Jesse Ventura asks “Did you see that? Now Dusty is manhandling a referee!” Gorilla says it may have been an accident. However, the referee thinks otherwise and disqualifies The American Dream as Big John Studd grabs Bobby Heenan and heads to the back.
Winner: Big John Studd (by disqualification)
The Dynamite Kid vs. Kamala (w/ Friday)
The Dynamite Kid comes out to cheers as “Rule Britannia” plays. The Dynamite Kid watches as Kamala walks out to the ring, escorted by his handler Friday. Kamala slaps his belly as Gorilla says Kamala is one intimidating individual. Referee Paul Morton instructs the wrestlers on what he expects as Jesse Ventura laughs, saying good with that talking to Kamala. The Dynamite Kid looks at Kamala, curious about how to proceed. He tries for an arm bar, but Kamala powers him into the corner. Kamala charges into the corner but Dynamite jumps out of the way. The Dynamite Kid dropkicks Kamala not once but twice. The big man wobbles but is still on his feet. Dynamite bounces off the ropes and hits a lariat. Kamala still hasn’t been knocked off his feet.
Kamala chops Dynamite, sending him flying into the corner. Kamala comes in and lifts Dynamite up by the throat, holding him over his head. Paul Morton starts counting as Friday yells something at Kamala. The big man from Uganda lets Dynamite down and chops him in the throat. Dynamite falls to the mat. Kamala lifts Dynamite up in the corner. Dynamite fires a chop at Kamala with no effect. Dynamite throws punches but Kamala stops him with a double thrust to the throat. Kamala takes Dynamite and whips him into the ropes, hitting a Savate kick to Dynamite’s head. Tremendous thrust kick Gorilla says as Dynamite collapses to the mat. Kamala bounces off the ropes with a big splash but Dynamite gets out of the way. The Dynamite Kid starts to rally as the fans chant “Dynamite! Dynamite!” Jesse Ventura says it sounds like he’s watching a rerun of Good Times.
Kamala charges at Dynamite in the corner but Dynamite is on the second rope and dives off with a dropkick that almost knocks Kamala down. Dynamite climbs to the top rope and hits a missile dropkick, knocking Kamala off his feet! Cover by Dynamite but the Ugandan Giant kicks out at two. Kamala headbutts Dynamite then whips him into a corner. Kamala charges Dynamite again, but the Kid is ready to dive out of the way again. However, Friday holds onto the Dynamite Kid’s foot, preventing his escape (and conveniently out of the referee’s sight) and Kamala connects. The Dynamite Kid drops down to the mat as Kamala bounces off the ropes, hitting another Big Splash. Stick the fork in him, he’s done! Gorilla shouts as Kamala gets the three-count.
Sgt. Slaughter vs. The Iron Sheik (w/ Classy Freddie Blassie)
The Iron Sheik is in the ring with Classy Freddie Blassie when “The Marine Hymn” begins playing. The fans break out into raucous cheers as a camouflage limousine pulls up. Sgt. Slaughter gets out and runs into the ring, attacking the Iron Sheik. “Classy” Blassie isn’t going to take a Slaughter Cannon so he gets out of Dodge as best he can. Slaughter starts slugging away at the Iron Sheik as Gorilla Monsoon says the Sarge hasn’t forgotten about his past war with The Iron Sheik. Jesse adds that whoever said time heals all wounds was wrong.
Slaughter lays into The Iron Sheik with kicks and punches as AWA referee Marty Miller is trying to restore control. Slaughter finally backs off as the referee threatens to disqualify him. Miller rings for the bell and the Sheik still has his ring gear on. Slaughter whips the Iron Sheik into the opposite corner then charges in, only for the Sheik to lift a knee. The former WWF Champion kicks Slaughter in the gut then the Sheik takes his head gear using it to choke out Slaughter. Referee Miller starts a five-count and the Sheik stops at four. The Sheik starts back up again as the referee counts to four before the Sheik breaks. Marty Miller grabs the head gear from The Iron Sheik and admonishes him, no doubt asking how a former Olympian could behave this badly.
The Iron Sheik rakes Slaughter’s eyes then rams his head into the turnbuckle. Sheik starts biting Slaughter on the forehead and whips him into the ropes for a back body-drop. The Iron Sheik delivers a salto suplex to Slaughter as Gorilla Monsoon says “The Iron Sheik is using one of his patented suplexes.” The Iron Sheik stomps Slaughter in the back as Jesse notes the Iron Sheik is softening Slaughter up for the Camel Clutch. If he gets that in it’s all over. The Iron Sheik stomps Slaughter in the head then picks him up for another suplex. Cover on Slaughter but Sarge is far from finished and kicks out at two. Sgt. Slaughter is bleeding now and must have been busted open when the Sheik kicked him. The Iron Sheik whips Slaughter into the ropes but Slaughter counters a back body drop by Sheiky baby, delivering a big boot to the Sheik’s chrome dome. The Sheik goes down as Jesse asks whether anyone checked to see if Slaughter is wearing steel-toed boots. Gorilla says that’s a good question. Jesse responds that he’d like a good answer.
Both men are down now as the referee begins counting to ten. 1, 2, 3…What a shame it would be to see these two counted out, Gorilla remarks. Jesse says he bets Kamala wouldn’t think it was a shame. 4, 5, 6…The Iron Sheik grabs the second rope and gets up as Slaughter gets to his feet as well. Both men are bleeding from the forehead and it’s difficult to say who has the worst of it. The Iron Sheik and Sgt, Slaughter begin exchanging punches. Gorilla says the referee is giving them a lot of latitude at this point. The Iron Sheik rakes the eyes and goes for a suplex but Slaughter blocks it. Slaughter whips the Iron Sheik into the ropes and hits the Slaughter Cannon! The Sheik goes down as Slaughter picks him up, applying the Cobra Clutch. The Iron Sheik quickly fades as Freddie Blassie tries to get the referee’s attention. Slaughter drops the Iron Sheik and goes to scare Blassie off.
Blassie is waving his cane and Slaughter is getting ready to deliver a Slaughter Cannon to Blassie. Meanwhile, The Iron Sheik wobbles as he gets up and loads one of his Persian boots. Slaughter turns around and walks into a big boot to the gut. Slaughter bowls over as the Iron Sheik goes to kick him in the gut. However, Slaughter ducks out of the way, as the Sheik loses his balance and falls down. Slaughter clenches his gut as he props himself up in the corner. The Iron Sheik charges at Sgt. Slaughter only for the Sarge to charge out with the Slaughter Cannon, flattening him. Slaughter covers the Sheik as referee Marty Miller makes the three count!
Winner: Sgt. Slaughter
Marty Miller raises Slaughter’s hand. Slaughter can barely stand. What’s going on? Gorilla asks as Nikolai Volkoff, Nikita Koloff, and Ivan Koloff run into the ring, dropping the dogs on Slaughter’s head. Nikolai lifts Sarge up as Nikita climbs to the top rope with his chain, clotheslining Slaughter. Jesse cackles that it looks like Slaughter found out what happens when you try to play cop in the wrestling world. The fans cheer as the Junkyard Dog, Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, Magnum T.A. and Kerry Von Erich run in for the save. Slaughter isn’t moving. Jesse says Slaughter may have won the battle, but it looks like he’s lost the war.
That’s it for this time fans. Join us next time as Round Two begins with four big match-ups! Be sure to check back as the WWF Wrestling Classic What If Tournament continues, exclusively at Wrestling Merchandise and Memories.